History of the Chimes


Free shipping only applies to lower 48 states

Featured Products

Best Selling

  • Suspension Springs #34 / #21-6
    by Emperor

    Price: $12.00
  • Suspension Springs - #17 / #21248A
    by Emperor

    Price: $12.00
  • 101M Replacement Movement Kit
    by Emperor

    Price: $298.50

Brand New

  • Oversized Wall Clock #42012
    by Hermle

    Price: $234.00
  • Clock Kit Cherry Wood Mantel Clock #22518
    by Emperor

    Price: $329.00
  • Leyton Mechanical Skeleton Table Clock #22716070791
    by Hermle

    Price: $478.00


  • Very nice quality clock (I love mechanical clocks). Took about 3-4 days of minor adjustments now the time is spot on. I didn't think I'd like the chime at the top of the hour but it is just right and not too loud at all. All in all a very good value. Liked it so much I bought a second one for home... the first one is in my office.

    on Ravensburg Clock
  • Great clock for the money. this is a very nice clock. much nicer then I imagined when I purchased it. the cabinet is real wood and well crafted. I build clocks as a hobby and saw this one a couple days ago and took the chance on purchasing it. it was less than I could make it and it is a real mechanical chiming clock was a good mechanism inside.

    Jim L.
    on Hermle Liberty Clock
  • We bought this clock for our son and he loves it! It's very high quality made and even more beautiful than the picture presents. The company went above and beyond to see that it was received in time for Christmas. Don't hesitate for a second in buying it!

    Valerie W.
    on Hermle Frankfurt Clock

Emperor Clock Company, originally from Fairhope, Alabama, has long been known as the King of Kits since 1969. In 2005, Emperor moved its location to Amherst, Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where it continues to operate as the retail division of Hermle clocks, the leading manufacturer in fine clocks. Find the perfect clock for your home in your style and budget at Emperor Clock. We sell genuine Hermle grandfather clocks, floor clocks, wall clocks and regulator clocks, mantel clocks, table clocks, and cuckoo clocks, all backed by our factory-direct manufacturer's warranty. Find the best piece for your home and get it with FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the Contiguous United States.

Looking for replacement parts for your Emperor, Hermle, Urgos, or Seth Thomas clock? Emperor has what you need to get your clocks up and running again with our replacement movements and movement kits. Keep your clock in perfect condition with our replacement parts and accessories and make sure your heirloom quality clocks truly stand the test of time.

Looking for a project? Emperor is still the King of Kits! Take a look at our DIY wood clock kits to find the right one for you, or give it as a gift to someone you love.


Chigwell Mechanical Table Clock

This chic, ultra-modern clock was inspired by the minimalist elegance of the cube. The polished, nickel-plated Hermle Westminster 352 movement is supported by heavy pillars mounted on the black piano finish wood base. The Hermle 8-day spring wound, Westminster movement chimes on four bells. Features include a polished nickel-plated finish, and a 11 jewel deadbeat escapement with a separate second feature. The epitome of luxury clocks, the Chigwell is sure to impress.

9 x 17 x 5 in.


Call for Availability and Updated Price. 800-642-0011


MSRP: $4,107.00


About Us

Originally from Fairhope, Alabama, Emperor Clock Company has been the leader in Build-it-Yourself Cllock kits since 1969. In 2005, Emperor moved its headquarters to the foothills in Amherst, Virginia where it currently operates out of the same building as Hermle North America, makers of fine clocks since 1922. Because we're clock-makers, Emperor is home to the best clock technicians and experts in the industry with our team ready to assist you with any clock-related questions that you might have. Looking for the perfect timepiece for your home? Emperor carries the entire line of finished Hermle Clocks with incredible deals. Our products are backed by a factory-warranty and top-of-the-line customer service. Our office hours here in Amherst are Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Follow Us

Latest News
History of the Chimes
/ Categories: Blogs, Clocks

History of the Chimes


When someone asks you to hum the Westminster chime, chances are, you know exactly what they’re talking about. That graceful 4-note melody is as distinctive to clocks as it is ingrained in our souls. But what is it, and why is that chime used in clocks? What about the other chimes? Where do they come from and why are they used?

Let’s jump right in and examine each of the main chimes!

1. Westminster Chimes

This famous chime gets its name from the Palace of Westminster in London, England where the classic “Big Ben” clock hangs and is considered to be the most commonly used chime for striking clocks. It makes up a set of variations of 4 notes from “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” from the German Baroque composer George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah (we’re taking Wikipedia’s word on this one because we listened to about twelve different variations of this song and can’t hear the similarities). The song ‘I Know That My Redeemer Liveth’ was first composed in 1741, and its creator is also the reason why the song plays in the bells of the ‘Red Tower’ in Halle, the town Handel was originally from. The Westminster chime as we know it today, however, wasn’t created until 1793 when a new clock was being built in St Mary the Great, the University Church in Cambridge. Who actually composed the chime, the Revd Dr Joseph Jowett (who was the Regius Professor of Civil Law at the University of Cambridge at the time he was first given the job) or an assistant (either Dr John Randall, Professor of Music or an undergraduate student named William Crotch) is up for debate, but this original location is also why you may hear the Westminster chime referred to as the Cambridge Quarter. The chime spread to the U.S. where it was first sounded at Trinity Episcopal Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in December 1875.


2. St. Michael’s Chimes


Named after the St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, these chimes are as American as, well…America! Although the bells were originally cast in London, they were installed in St. Michael’s in 1764. During the Revolutionary war, the city of Charleston was captured by the British and the bells were taken to England, only to be returned to Charleston by a London merchant after the war. In 1823, they were again sent back to England to be recast after cracks were found in the bells, and then came back to Charleston, only to be moved again, this time to Colombia for safe keeping during the Civil War—only this time they didn’t quite make it to their destination unscathed as they were damaged in a fire set by Union General William Sherman, known for his stance on “harsh war” tactics that involved scorched earth policies and waging total war against the Confederate States (yikes!). After the war, the bells made a third trip back to England for restoration, and finally were reinstalled in St. Michael’s Church steeple in 1867, where they have (thankfully) remained to this day.



3. Whittington Chimes


For these chimes, we have to go back to a little area in 14th century London called Cheapside, which actually doesn’t have anything to do with a bargain or poor quality like you might imagine—Cheapside gets its name from the Old English ceapan, which means ‘to buy,’ and was traditionally the marketplace of any urban area. As the story goes, in 1392 a young boy named Dick Whittington, a younger son without a claim to the family fortune and unhappy apprentice, ran away from his master through Cheapside and heard the tune ringing from the bell tower of the church of St Mary-le-Bow. The bells seemed to be saying to him, “Turn again Dick Whittington,” and so he turned around, went back to London, and found his fortune (and later became the Lord Mayor of London four times). During three of his mayoral campaigns, legend has it that Whittington used the tune as his campaign song which goes:


              Turn again Dick Whittington,
              Right Lord Mayor of London Town.



4. Ave Maria

This Hail Mary chime was originally composed by Franz Schubert as a prayer of safety for Ellen Douglas (who is also the main protagonist in Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake) and it was originally titled “Ellens dritter Gesang” or Ellen’s Third Song after being inspired by Scott’s poem. In the poem, Ellen is travelling with her exiled father and sings a prayer to the Virgin Mary calling upon her help and comfort in the rebellion between her Scottish clan and King James. She and her father are hiding in a cave at the time she sings this prayer. The opening words of the tune are ‘Ave Maria,’ which means ‘Hail Mary,’ and this may have led to the adapting of the song to the full text of the Roman Catholic church prayer Ave Maria, but don’t let this confuse you—it’s a misconception that Schubert originally wrote the melody as the setting for the Catholic prayer!



Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,

       Though banish’d, outcast and reviled –

       Maiden! Hear a maiden’s prayer;

       Mother, hear a suppliant child!
       Ave Maria!






How are we doing? Are you enjoying Emperor Clock’s blog? If you have questions or want some deeper insight on how to repair your clock, let us know so we can feature it in an upcoming article!

Previous Article How to Synchronize The Chiming Movement
Next Article What do Clocks and the Roman God of Thunder Have in Common?
1693 Rate this article:

Please login or register to post comments.